United go level with Liverpool after hard fought win over Villa

United climbed to just behind Liverpool on goal difference in the table as they beat Aston Villa in an entertaining match on Friday night.

There wasn’t much to separate the two sides until five minutes before the break when Aaron Wan-Bissaka whipped in a cross from the right that Anthony Martial directed home after Tyrone Mings failed to clear.

That goal was canceled out when Bertrand Traore’s slipped the ball underneath David de Gea, but moments later Douglas Luiz’s was adjudged to bring down Paul Pogba, and the resulting penalty was slotted home by Bruno Fernandes for his 11th league goal this season.

Mings headed wide late on and De Gea pulled off a great save from Matty Cash’s long-range stoppage-time effort as United held out for their eighth win in 10 games.

Off the pitch, the transfer window opened today with rumours circulating that United are putting together a bid for Villa Captain Jack Grealish. After his performance in this game, it’s easy to see why, but such is his importance in the side, it will surely take a monumental offer for the Birmingham club to even consider it.

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

The Villains have looked brilliant on the road in recent weeks with wins over Leicester, Arsenal, Wolves and West Brom.

But at home they have struggled and Smith will need to change that…….and quick.

His team picked up no casualties in their win over the Baggies last time out and he could name an unchanged line up with Ross Barkley and Ezri Konsa back on the bench.

For Palace, things can’t really get much worse after they were whacked 7-0 by Liverpool last weekend and Roy Hodgson looks certain to change things up.

Christian Benteke is back in the squad after a one game ban with James Tomkins, Michy Batshuayi and James McCarthy all pushing for a starting spot

And Kick Off is set for a 3pm start on Boxing Day at Villa Park

Sam Allardyce’s Premier League return ends in defeat as West Brom lose to Aston Villa

The Baggies played the majority of the game with ten men following Jake Livermore’s red card but Allardyce’s new team were never really in it against the Villa.

Dean Smith’s side were quick out of the traps against the cross city rivals with Anwar El Ghazi putting them in front after just five minutes.

Summer signing Bertrand Traore’s cross drifted over a line of West Brom defenders inside the box and the Dutchman arrived on cue to finish at the back post.

That goal put the Baggies on the back foot before the break and their task was made even harder after Livermore was dismissed for a lunge at Jack Grealish.

With a goal and a man advantage after the restart Villa looked to move through the gears as Scottish international John McGinn headed wide just wide of the post.

But Smith’s side did finally wrap the points up with five minutes to go, as Traore cooly slotted home and El Ghazi netted his second of the night from the spot after Semi Ajayi bundled over Grealish inside the box.

Full Time at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 0 Aston Villa 3

Premier League Preview: Wolves v Aston Villa

Nuno Santo’s side have been inconsistent in recent weeks with just one win from their last four games in the Premier League.

A win at Arsenal two weeks ago was followed with defeat at Liverpool last time out but the Portuguese boss is only expected to make limited changes to his starting XI.

With Raul Jimenez the only long-term absentee for Santo he could name an unchanged side from the defeat at Anfield.

But if Wolves’ form is a cause for concern for Santo, Dean Smith has even deeper worries with just one win from five for the Villa.

Smith is expected to be a bit more liberal with his changes than Santo with eight players sidelined for the visitors.

Ross Barkley and Keinan Davis are back in training but Smith will not risk them this weekend with a busy run of games coming up.

Matty Cash should shake off a minor knock in time to play and Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi should also return to freshen up the attack.

Kick Off is 12.30pm tomorrow at Molineux

Premier League Preview: Wolves v Aston Villa

Nuno Santo’s side have been inconsistent in recent weeks with just one win from their last four games in the Premier League.

A win at Arsenal two weeks ago was followed with defeat at Liverpool last time out but the Portuguese boss is only expected to make limited changes to his starting XI.

With Raul Jimenez the only long-term absentee for Santo he could name an unchanged side from the defeat at Anfield.

But if Wolves’ form is a cause for concern for Santo, Dean Smith has even deeper worries with just one win from five for the Villa.

Smith is expected to be a bit more liberal with his changes than Santo with eight players sidelined for the visitors.

Ross Barkley and Keinan Davis are back in training but Smith will not risk them this weekend with a busy run of games coming up.

Matty Cash should shake off a minor knock in time to play and Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi should also return to freshen up the attack.

Kick Off is 12.30pm tomorrow at Molineux

Premier League Preview: West Ham v Aston Villa

The Villains have come off the rails a bit in recent weeks, with just one win in four, and the former Brentford boss will need to rotate to arrest their worrying dip in form.

However, with seven stars sidelined through injury, his options are reduced ahead of the trip to the capital.

Conor Hourihane could come in to stiffen up the midfield, with fit again Bertrand Traore in line to replace Ross Barkley in attack.

The hosts head into this on the back of some solid form, with back to back 1-0 wins over Fulham and Sheffield United.

And that consistency means David Moyes is set to stick with the old reliable here and name an unchanged team for the third game in a row.

And it’s a late one to wrap up the Premier League weekend with an 8pm start at the London Stadium.